DIY Carmen Miranda Fruit Head Piece

The annual Perth Pinup Pool Party is coming and this years theme is Carmen Miranda. Carmen Miranda, the famous Portuguese-born Brazilian samba, singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star is most recognizable for her iconic fruit hat. As soon as I heard the theme of the pool party, I knew it was time to create a fruit headpiece and I knew I wanted it to be big! Looking online, a lot of fruit headpieces were way over my budget so I knew I had to do the next best thing, DIY and give it a go. I was so happy with the final result and can report that the headpiece stays on your head firmly and secure. If I were to redesign this headpiece again, I would perhaps add more head straps so I can tie it better but for the low budget and big impact, I think it’s perfect.

Watch my Video Here:

The whole project took me an afternoon mainly because I had to wait for the paint to dry but the actual assembly took me around an hour and a half. We put on a movie and I was done as soon as the credits started rolling.

What you need:
a turban
a styrofoam cone
-acrylic paint in the same colour as the turban
-Hot glue gun and hot glue
-fake fruit (I mainly used 5 bunches of grapes, 2 bananas, a twig of tiny apples and a twig of blueberries)
-silk flowers (I chose orchids because they were very tropical looking)
-Safety Pin


Miss MonMon – How to Make a Carmen Miranda Fruit Head Piece. Photo by Angie Delarie Pinup Photography

How to do it:
1. Paint your styrofoam cone in a matching colour to the turban. Make sure to use a good acrylic paint so the styrofoam doesn’t melt (avoid spray paint for this reason). Do two to three coats letting the layers dry fully. It was rather warm the day I did it so the paint dried really quickly.
2. Tie your hair into a low ponytail at the back and then put the turban on. Mark out a straight line at the top of your head where you want the tower to sit (do not mark it at the very front because you want the turban to stay intact at the front of your head). Take the turban off and then, very slowly, cut along this line little by little. Every few centimeters, stop and push the foam cone through the hole you’ve made until the base fits securely into the hole.
You can put the turban on to see how it’s looking throughout the process and to see how the tower will sit on your head. Don’t worry if you feel the tower will fall off because the turban will be altered to make it more secure on your head. (You can also have fun pretending you’re a unicorn)
2. After you are happy with the hole you cut into your turban, use the hot glue to glue the base of the styrofoam cone into the hole. If the headpiece feels awkward to hold or prop up, you can put it on a mannequin head or I just used a tissue box.
3. You can now start adding your fruit! I started by gluing on my bananas one at the front and one at the back. Place the banana where you want it to sit using its natural curve to give you an idea of angles, mark the place in chalk and then hot glue along the line. Hold the banana until the glue has dried a little as it can slide out of position.
4. I found the best fruit for these headpiece were grapes. To attach them, don’t waste your time with hot glue because it can get really messy; instead, push a pin through the stem of the grapes, then push it into the foam. Repeat this along the grape until it’s secure. You can then continue adding grapes in the same way all over your headpiece.
5. For attaching the tiny apples and blueberries, I used hot glue and attempted to fill in the gaps and add pops of colour. I also recommend adding a few leaves here and there as it gives more of a fresh tropical vibe.
6. Add your silk flowers using hot glue as needed. I chose pink and blue orchids to add even more colour to the headpiece.
7. After your tower is covered, put the turban on your head and you may find that the tower doesn’t seem to smoothly flow up your head and instead looks slightly awkward. Fix this issue by pinning two punches of grapes to the bottom of the tower and wrapping them towards the back. I found that this made the tower look seamless and more of a stack rather than a bunch of fruits al piled on top of your head. I also found that by dangling bunches of grapes down your face was a little too much and by draping and pinning them back they looked better.
8. You need to be brave for the next section. Cut from the center back of the turban a few inches up into the middle. Your turban will start to unravel and reveal lots of material which is really stretchy. The idea now is to pull the two sides from either cut over the low ponytail or bun you made in your hair and secure it under the hair using a safety pin. If done correctly and with enough of a cut, this should work for you. If you get a bit nervous, I recommend using a donut sponge to create a thick bun which will give the headpiece more grip. This headpiece was a ‘learn on the go’ kind of deal so I recommend taking your time and just having fun with it.
And you’re done!


Miss MonMon – How to Make a Carmen Miranda Fruit Head Piece. Photo by Angie Delarie Pinup Photography

-Avoid using really bulky and big fruit such as apples and oranges. Unless you plan on covering your whole foam tower in bulky fruit, they can stick out too much and not fit in with the whole look.
-The grapes I bought had a really terrible smelling oil over them to make them look glossy and shiny. They smelt so bad! I ended up baby wiping them several times to remove as much oil as I could and then leaving them outside to air out for about two days. Even now, I walk past my fruit headpiece and it still smells gross.
-Feel free to use whatever coloured turbans, grapes or fruit you want. There is no right or wrong with colours and you can customize your own colour palette to suit your outfit.
-You can use this method to make future headpieces such as flower or butterfly towers or go more quirky with a selection of lollies and sweets, fake-baked good or donuts.


Miss MonMon Annual Perth Pinup Pool Party. Photo by Angie Delarie Pinup Photography

Click here to purchase your ticket to the Perth Pinup Pool Party.


Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. 

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